The last macronutrient that we have to talk about is fat. It seems like this has been the easiest macronutrient for everyone to consistently hit during the challenge so far. We hope that most people have forgotten the misleading “fat makes you fat” tag line that stemmed from the low-fat trend. It was great marketing for products like non-fat string cheese and a lot of non-fat imitation foods. Those products are essentially foods that were intended to be full-fat but have been modified to be non-fat, becoming what we like to call “food-like substances”. Take skim milk for example. It has less fat compared to whole milk – true; but, it’s been so processed to remove the fat from it that it has significantly more sugar and carbohydrates.
We’re not saying that foods that naturally don’t contain a lot of fat should be avoided – we’re just saying beware of things from which fat has been removed to promote a “lower fat” version.
Fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat can actually make you lean! However, that doesn’t mean eat all the fat! We still need to have balance in our macronutrients (more on the why of your percentages next week!). Before we look at the why for fats; let’s look at what type of fat is good! They aren’t all created equal.
Omega-3 fats, EPA & DHA, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
FOOD SOURCES: coconut oil, grass-fed butter, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, avocado, olive oil, nuts, fish, flaxseeds, grass-fed meat
We’ve all heard that fat is good for us; here’s why and how:
Fat’s are easily digested and processed in the body. The body uses fats to make hormones (remember when we talked about hormones last week?). Having balanced hormones allows your body to accurately tell you when you’re hungry. When your hormones are balanced, you’re able to burn fat! Consuming omega-3 fats causes an increase in your energy expenditure and therefore allows you to burn more calories.
But wait, there’s more!
Improve insulin (which means your metabolism is healthier)
Give your brain fuel
Decrease your risk for heart disease and cancer
These good fats also won’t cause your cholesterol or triglycerides to raise. More and more research is supporting the fact that refined carbohydrates (processed foods) are what causes that spike and can develop into heart disease. Don’t fear healthy fats. Good fats also aren’t stored as “fat” in our body, so don’t be scared.
Oils are very important sources of fat, but there are some important things to be aware of about them as well. We like coconut oil and avocado oil best for cooking. Olive oil is great in salads, but focus on eating this oil raw. Always try to avoid vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, etc. These oils are highly processed and have very bad ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 (which we don’t like).
You may be wondering, why can’t we cook with olive oil? Olive oil has a low smoke point which causes oxidation. Oxidation is really damaging for your body, so do your besavoid using olive or any of the above oils while cooking. Always choose virgin coconut oil! Avoid anything that says partially hydrogenated, etc.
When choosing meat products, choose good quality sources – pasture-raised, organic, free-range. Also, butter is a great option! Kerrygold is our favorite brand! Choose organic and grass-fed when you can.
In case you want to read some more articles on this topic, here are a few references to check out:
Hopefully this helps clear up some questions you may have had about fats. If you have any more, feel free to comment below!
-Evan & Maria